Poland schools have less time to seek voter approval for new school


POLAND

The school board learned Monday that its options for again seeking voter approval of a proposal to build a new school are more limited than originally believed.

The school board cannot bring back a ballot measure in November 2016 asking voters to authorize a $28.3 million bond issue and accompanying tax levies. Sixty-two percent of Poland voters in this year’s general election voted against the ballot measure, which would have allowed the district – in partnership with a state commission that would pay 19 percent of the estimated $35 million cost – to proceed with a plan to demolish old buildings and construct a new K-8th-grade campus-style school.

At issue, Superintendent David Janofa said during a Monday meeting, was a miscommunication about the opening of a 13-month window in which the school district can take advantage of the 19 percent state share. 

The partnership with the state began in July, when the state approved a master plan for the project; that master plan changed in October, which school district officials understood to mean that they had 13 months from that point to get the plan approved at the polls. That’s not the case, however, and the district has until August to get the proposal approved.

“It’s too bad, because we really felt a little breath of hope that we had a little bit of time,” said board president Elinor Zedaker.

The remaining options for dealing with facilities appear to be renovations funded by a permanent-improvement levy, or bringing the original ballot measure back during a special election, as the school board has indicated that it is not likely to bring the issue back in March.

Doing nothing with the facilities is not an option, school district officials have said, because of what they have identified as a need for major infrastructure repairs at all school buildings.

No action on the issue was taken at Monday’s meeting. 

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